Saturday, December 31, 2016


Thank you again to our readers, who keep this site alive and thriving. Your purchases of our calendars and tee shirts goes to supporting young artists and opera projects.

BEST NEW OPERA (tie): Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's Breaking the Waves

John Moore, Kiera Duffy and the cast of Breaking the Waves
Barihunk John Moore performed in the premiere of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's Breaking the Waves at Opera Philadelphia and then reprised his role at the PROTOTYPE Festival along with co-star Kiera Duffy.

The opera is based on the Oscar-nominated 1996 film by Lars von Trier and tells of the story of a woman's sexual desires and confessions after her husband becomes paralyzed. The opera was performed with a "mature audience" warning in Philadelphia, as it involved nudity from the leads. More importantly, the opera is a riveting piece of theater.

BEST NEW OPERA (tie): JFK at Forth Worth Opera

Daniel Okulitch as LBJ and Matt Worth as JFK
The Fort Worth Opera, in collaboration with the American Lyric Theater, debuted David T. Little and Royce Vavrek's JFK  in April to rave reviews. The opera, which starred barihunks Matthew Worth as JFK and Daniel Okulitch as LBJ, tells of the final twelve hours of President John F. Kennedy's life. Okulitch performed a memorable and scene stealing, comic piece stripped down to his Texas flag inspired underwear.

Fort Worth was a fitting setting for the opera, as it was the last place that the President slept before being gunned down in Dallas. JFK left the Hotel Texas (now the Fort Worth Hilton) on the rain-soaked morning of November 22, 1963, and spoke to thousands who had waited in the rain to hear him speak. Those remarks were to be his final public speech.

HOTTEST NEW BARIHUNK TO THE SITE: Basque Barihunk Vincent Simonet

Basque barihunk Vincent Simonet
Our hearts starting racing when we saw these pictures of Basque barihunk Vincent Simonet by photographer and fellow barihunk JF l'Oiseleur des Longchamps. Simonet is a decendent of the famous 19th century baritone Paul Barroilhet (aka Paolo Barroilhet), whose bust still graces the Opera Garnier in Paris.

This summer he performed Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola at the Centre Européen de Musique. He was asked by French composer Philippe Mazé to sing at the 100-year anniversary of the Cathedral of Monaco (Saint Nicholas Cathedral). The cathedral is home to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monaco where many of the Grimaldis are buried, including Prince Rainier III and his wife Grace Kelly.

Simonet is also one of the initiators of the charity recital "Ensemble pour les Enfants Malades" (Recital for the Sick Children) which is a benefit for the Pediatric Immuno-Hematology Department at the Hôpital Necker de Paris. We love a barihunk who does charity work!

HOTTEST PERFORMANCE: Hadleigh Adams in Powder Her Face at West Edge Opera 

Hadleigh Adams as The Duke in Powder Her Face
West Edge Opera, situated across the Bay from it's big budget sister San Francisco Opera, continues to make waves with the most innovative and thrilling productions anywhere. Under the inspired leadership of Mark Streshinsky they have made the Top 10 lists of virtually every music critic on the West Coast. Their productions, which take place in old abandoned train station (where portions of the movie RENT were filmed), are so popular that they often have to add performances.

Such was the case with Thomas Adès' provocative Powder Her Face starring barihunk Hadleigh Adams, hunkentenor Jonathan Blalock and sexy soprano Emma McNairy, who previously made waves with her sizzling Lulu with the company. Adams sang the roles of the vapid Duke (for which he strips down completely!), the condescending hotel manager, and the hypocritical judge who condemns the Duchess.

The opera was brilliantly directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer, which the Financial Times dubbed "buoyant" and "exhilirating."

Upcoming performance for Adams include Jonathan Dove's Flight with Opera Parallèle and Puccini's La fanciulla del West with the Michigan Opera Theater.

Ryan McKinny as Amfortas
We have to give a close runner-up mention to Ryan McKinny as Amfortas in Bayreuth's Parsifal. If you can look this sexy in a "man diaper" then you deserve some credit. 

BEST BARIHUNK CHARITY WORK: Michael Hewitt/Cancer Research

Michael Hewitt (from our calendar and buffing up for charity work!)
Barihunk Michael Hewitt took to crowd sourcing to raise $3000 for The Decath10n, which raised money for pediatric cancer research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. (Full disclosure: Barihunks contributed to the effort).

Michael is also featured in July in our 2017 "Barihunks in Bed" calendar.  He will make his company debut with the Glimmerglass Opera in 2017 in the role of Jud Fry in Oklahoma!

Hewitt also has a fitness website and he says that consistency is the key to staying in shape and that you can't outwork a poor diet.

BEST NEW SOLO WORK FOR BARITONE: Clint Borzoni's Two German Songs for Baritone and String Quartet, sung by Marco Vassalli

Composer Clint Borzoni and barihunk Marco Vassalli worked on this commission over Skype after the German singer chose Hermann Hesse's Stufen and Hilde Domin's Margere Kost for his text. Musica Marin presented the works, which were inspired by adding something other than Samuel Barber's Dover Beach to the repertory for baritone and string quartet. Vassalli performed all three pieces at two sold out concerts in the former home of Ansel Adams in San Francisco.

Borzoni, one of the most talented young composers on the scene is now Musica Marin's "Composer-in-Residence." Barihunk Edward Nelson will perform the composer's new arrangement of his aria "Two Nooses" from his opera When Adonis Calls, arranged for baritone, viola, cello and piano. Borzoni's opera The Copper Queen won the Arizona Opera's award for best new opera.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN AN OPERETTA: Dominik Köninger in Oscar Straus' The Pearls of Cleopatra

Dominik Köninger
What would a Barihunk "Best of..." list be without German barihunk Dominik Köninger? He made our list again by giving the funniest performance of the year as the Roman Officer in Oscar Straus' The Pearls of Cleopatra (Die Perlen der Cleopatra) at the Komische Oper in Berlin.

The operetta has been on the shelves for more than eighty years and was written before the composer fled the Nazi Anschluss in 1939. As the Roman Officer, Köninger is shown in some pretty sexy situations and there also plenty of scantily clad, energetic performers on stage, adding to the lively Cabaret feel of the pre-Nazi Weimar Republic.

The operetta is viewable on the OperaPlatform. We sure hope that someone else produces this work using this Barrie Kosky production, which is perfect in every way.


Björn Bürger as Don Giovanni and the Barber
We've been keeping our eye on German barihunk Björn Bürger since 2014, when he caught our eyes and ears at the Mirjam Helin Competition. We continued to be impressed by him as an ensemble member at the Frankfurt Oper, where he performed Pelléas, Schaunard, Plunkett in Martha, Curio in Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Frank and Fritz in Die Tote Stadt. Count Almaviva, Masetto and Owen Wingrave. But we really began to take note with his sexy portrayal in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni at Den Norske Opera.

There is no such thing as an overnight sensation, as years of coaching, training and performing goes into any singer's career, but Bürger may have had just such a moment this year. His performance in the title role of Rossini's Barber of Seville at the Glyndebourne Festival was the talk of the town, where his cast mates included Taylor Stayton as Almaviva and Danielle de Niese as Rosina.

The Guardian said that Bürger "dominates with singing of great bravado and warmth," while The Express wrote that he sang "beautifully...and acted with impressive energy.' Mark Valencia in What's on Stage wrote, "The handsome young baritone exudes elegant bonhomie and fourth-wall-breaking razzle-dazzle, and he delivers Rossini's tongue-twisters with an eloquence it would be hard to better."

BEST APPEARANCE IN AN ADULT MAGAZINE: Edward Miskie in Britain's Mascular Magazine

Edward Miskie (right) in Mascular Magazine
Edward Miskie, who has appeared in our Barihunks Calendar for the last two years, was asked to pose for the UK's erotic art magazine Mascular Magazine. The magazine is geared toward those who love bears (and we have a ton of readers who fit that category!)

However, Miskie shows more skin in our new calendar than he did in his photoshoot with Brooklyn-based photographer Ron Amato for the magazine's feature entitled "Pride." Whether in a suit or staring out shirtless from his bed, this is one sexy man who holds his own with any of the models in Mascular Magazine. Check it out for yourself.

BEST JOKE THAT WE PLAYED ON READERS: Nathan Gunn and Anna Netrebko appearing in Wagner's Ring at the MET

Nathan Gunn would make one sexy Wotan. Check out that spear.
Barihunk Zachary Luchetti penned an April Fool's Day joke for us claiming that Nathan Gunn and Anna Netrebko would be appearing the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Wagner's Ring as Brünnhilde and Wotan. Luchetti is one of the most entertaining and original personalities in the industry and we loved running with this gag. It was worth it just for the emails from people outraged that this duo would take on role "obviously ill-suited to their voices," as one reader wrote. This is why one should read every post to the end (especially on April 1st).

BEST INTERVIEW: Malte Roesner discussing fitness routineand his fach change

Malte Roesner
When we first met Malte Roesner in France last year, he was singing as a baritone and wrapping up a decade long run at the Staatstheater Braunschweig (State Theater of Brunswick). Since that time, he has gone through a fach change to bass and recently came to California for a series of auditions. We will have an exciting update about his upcoming U.S. debut(s) in a future post. (Yes, debut may be plural).

He is featured prominently in both our 2016 calendar and our "2017 Barihunks in Bed" calendar. Roesner, who is one of the most intelligent singers on the scene, also translates operas, having translated both Jake Heggie's For a Look or a Touch and Jonathan Dove's Mansfield Park from English to German.

In our interview with him, the always fascinating singer discussed his recent fach change from baritone to bass, his workout routine, his month-long audition tour in the US and why it's “all about the bass.” You can read the entire interview HERE.


Lucas Meachem
When we posted an interview with barihunk Lucas Meachem about his recent weight loss it went viral and jumped to one of our ten most viewed posts ever (and the top post that didn't reveal any "skin")!!!

Prompted by being forced to deal with high cholesterol and the new age of HD opera broadcasts, Meachem took his wife's advice and switched to a plant-based diet, which led to an amazing physical transformation.

When he took the stage as Doctor Malatesta in Donizetti's Don Pasquale at the San Francisco Opera, Meachem had slimmed down a remarkable 45 pounds (20.4 kilos). He also sounded as luxurious and resonant as ever.

He told us, "I used to rail against the system for it's unfairness that weight is even an issue when it came to my voice. For me vocal prowess should be the main determining factor of an opera singer but I realized that I couldn't play by those rules anymore. The fact is it's easier to change yourself than the system. So instead of resisting, I decided to change myself."

You can read the entire interview HERE.

On an unrelated note, Meachem won the San Francisco Opera's inaugural "Emerging Star of the Year" competition, whose goal is to engage the community in the thrill of experiencing artists on the cusp of greatness, and to build awareness among the broader opera-going public of San Francisco Opera's leadership in nurturing and showcasing new talent. 

BEST GATHERING OF A BARIHUNK SEXTET IN ONE PLACE (tie): A Midsummer Night's Dream at Teatro Amilcare Ponchielli Cremona and Lakes Area Music Festival

Prior to 2016, the most barihunks that we had ever featured on one stage at the same time was four. It seemed like this year at least two companies decided to blow that number out of the water, as both the Teatro Amilcare Ponchielli Cremona and the Lakes Area Music Festival decided to present operas with SIX barihunks performing together.

Zachary Altman and Nicholas Masters (top); Dario Shikhmiri, Rocco Cavalluzzi, Federico Benetti and Paolo Ingrasciotta (bottom l-r)

The cast list for Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Teatro Amilcare Ponchielli Cremona, included  Zachary Altman as Bottom, Nicholas Masters as Quince, Dario Shikhmiri as Starveling, Rocco Cavalluzzi as Snug, Federico Benetti as Theseus and Paolo Ingrasciotta as Demetrius.

Eric Broker, Andrew Lovato, Sam Parkinson, John Taylor Ward, Rodolfo Nieto and Benjamin Sieverding
Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe the Lakes Area Music Festival's production of the same opera included John Taylor Ward as Bottom, Andrew Lovato as Demetrius, Rodolfo Nieto as Theseus, Benjamin Sieverding as Quince, Eric Broker as Starveling and Sam Parkinson as Snug. John Taylor Ward not only performed in the opera, but he serves as Associate Artistic Director of the company and wrote the program notes.

All we have to say for 2017, is bring us more performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

BEST SHIRTLESS APPEARANCE: Alessio Arduini in Così fan tutte

Alessio Arduini in Così fan tutte
We don't know how this site could survive without streaming video from opera houses around the world, as it continues to be an endless source of content and visual and audio excitement.

Imagine our reaction when we watched the BBC Radio 3 broadcast of the Royal Opera House production of Mozart's Così fan tutte with a shirtless Alessio Arduni as Guglielmo. German director Jan Philipp Gloger made his house debut with the new production using librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte’s alternative title for the opera: "The School for Lovers." The ROH cast a vocally and visually impressive cast to live up to the title, which included  Corinne Winters as Fiordiligi, Angela Brower as Dorabella, Daniele Behle as Ferrando, Johannes Martin Kränzle as Don Alfonso and Sabina Puértolas as Despina.

Arduini is currently performing Marcello at the Metropolitan Opera on Januray 6,11 and 14.

SEXIEST SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT: Zachary Gordin on Instagram

Zachary Gordin on Instagram
If you're not one of Zachary Gordin's 1,450 followers on Instagram (zgordin) then you're missing out on some of the best barihunk shots on the internet. Gordin's site alternates personal posts with images from performances and his brutal gym workouts.

The fitness buff also serves on the voice faculty of Sonoma State University and operates a private vocal studio in the San Francisco Bay Area. Upcoming performances include "Mozart at the Opera" with the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio on January 22 and a recital with accompanist Brian Nies at the Green Music Center in Sonoma.

We particularly love him because he includes us in his bio, "Gordin is also widely recognized as the face of the website Barihunks, which celebrates physically fit and vocally-talented operatic baritones from around the globe."


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